Saturday, 28 June 2014

Have You Ever Tried Living in The Present??



Accompanied by "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw.

Heeeeey!!!

Happy long weekend everyone!!!! I had the most glorious day so far and feel totally inspired to write so that's what I'm doing!

What a great morning I've had today! Coffee and breakfast in hand, I took a wonderful walk to the lake to read the rest of my book and soak in this beautiful weather. This past week I've been feeling quite anxious and kind of sad so the sun did me some good. I chatted with a few girlfriends of mine who made me swell with pride seeing how they've turned their lives around for the better and who are now living their passions. It has been really inspiring to see and I feel so much happiness for them.
   
After parking myself on a bench by the water and settling in, I went on to finish this book I've been reading called When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron (based on Buddhist teachings). I felt like I was parting with a great friend when the last page was read.  If you are looking for a book that provides a down to earth, no bullshit perspective about meditation and how to live a fulfilling, glorious life, then this book is for you! For me, it brought about so many perspectives about life that made so much sense and really resonated within my body. It calls you out on so many things you do in your daily existence that you may not want to admit to yourself or are maybe not even aware of, but are nor right or wrong things to do. It's a book about how to live in the present and how to break from our old habitual patterns and embrace all parts of ourselves. It made me start to appreciate and absorb the present moment because that's all we have right now! I've known this way of life in theory and you always hear the statement LIVE IN THE PRESENT, in which I would answer "Yes of course!" but that statement never truly clicked until now. The future is not here yet people! What we do in each present moment creates what will happen in our future. We have a choice in each moment whether it's joyful or not, to turn our life around in the way we want. There is no guarantee that we will wake up tomorrow, so embracing our lives moment by moment and feeling gratitude for all that comes to us in those moments, both good and challenging, is how we can live a truly happy and fulfilled life.  I've honestly started to understand how precious life really is and how much time I seem to waste because "there's always tomorrow to do it". We don't have a long time on earth and our days here are to be lived to the fullest - which can mean doing the most simplest things. How many of us are aware of the sound of the wind blowing through our hair and around our ears? How many of us are aware of the birds chirping in the trees? The feeling of the sun or rain on our skin? How many of us really truly absorb the cars driving past us? The people passing us on the sidewalks? The beauty of nature and of life in general? The feeling of our feet walking along the grass or sidewalks? The smell of the cedar path? The smell of the garbage in Toronto or someone's natural scent?  Do you truly listen to someone when they are talking or are you in your own head waiting to talk about yourself or thinking about your grocery list or how great the sex was last night? We are all guilty of being up in the clouds or rushing around not paying attention to the life that is around us.  Not paying attention to the people around us. Not paying attention to life at all. How many of us are so debilitated by our own fears and thoughts that we don't take risks or live the lives we want? We live this safe existence to avoid being hurt, or embarrassed or seen as a failure. How many of us run away from love to avoid risking a broken heart or awkward silence or rejection or even falling in love?? We miss out on so much when we let ourselves get in the way. We are creating these outcomes! It's quite ridiculous when you really think about it.

Thinking that we can put things off, or that there are better things out there instead of what is right in front of us right now won't get us anywhere enjoyable. Every moment that we encounter are wondrous moments that need to be cherished and soaked in because those senses and the chance to live those experiences can be gone in seconds. It's a gift that we wake up every day breathing, feeling tired, feeling cranky, feeling amazing! There is so much of life that we take for granted. We bombard ourselves with all these distractions to escape our lives which is kind of crazy when you think about it! Why do we want to run away instead of deal with ourselves? Why do we create so much anxiety within ourselves?? Social media, our phones, music, drugs, alcohol, food, people, events - all these distractions can keep us out of the present and keep us from really feeling what is going on inside us and around us. Using these outlets to escape from being uncomfortable inside or feeling that anxiety and fear only put a temporary band-aid on the issues at hand. With these outlets we don't have to really feel what we are feeling right then and there. We are providing ourselves with a temporary fix, but we can't escape ourselves for very long. Embracing our fears, embracing our anxiety, embracing our joys, embracing our sadness, embracing our triumphs, embracing the unknown, embracing our discomfort with anything we feel uncomfortable with - silence, the idea of commitment, rejection, death, connection, traffic, life in general - is how we will truly live and get past these feelings.  Instead of trying to run away from them or fix them we need to have courage and face these feelings, staying in that present moment until the emotions/feelings pass. We can then truly observe our patterns and ourselves in an honest way, with compassion, kindness and no shame or guilt. We can accept that we are not these perfect beings, and that these imperfections are actually life's lessons that help us develop and move forward in life in a different way. Life's shitty situations can teach us a lesson in patience, or surrendering. Sometimes we just don't know what to do when presented with a situation beyond our control. Trust and faith within that insecure, shaky space is necessary. Living in the present and meditating can allow us to detach from the chaos our minds create. It is crazy how much effort is required to slow ourselves down and train ourselves to live this way. I am guilty of living in a twister like state - not truly absorbing what's around me all the time, escaping from my life to avoid the pain - but I am learning to change this around because I love life and I want to make sure I live life to the fullest! Not reacting to life is hard for me! Slowing myself down enough to just feel what I'm feeling, letting it resonate and then respond is a difficult task! BUT it allows for a more stable way of being. So in short....next time you feel uncomfortable, fearful, sad, angry, hurt, happy, content - sit in that moment and stick it out. You may be pleasantly surprised at what happens next :)

I hope everyone enjoys this glorious long weekend. I can't believe it is already July!!!! Where is the time going?!? Looking forward to five whole days off in a row.

Love you long time.

Lovely Lianne XOXOXO

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Have You Ever Lived An Undisciplined Life?


Accompanied by "Better Get To Livin'" by Dolly Parton.

Hey Y'all!

Hope all is well with everyone!! It's been a while since my last blog and it's time to let things out!!! So here it goes!

Throughout the last few months, life has certainly been twisting and turning like crazy in both good and challenging ways. My relationship ended (amicably), I started singing lessons to improve my breathing and vocal range (which has also been serving as an amazing therapy session each week!), have been reading some amazing books that have brought about new ways of thinking and being to the table, met some people that have inspired me to change my life for the better, and have been facing my own truth and trying to be honest with myself. I have been inspired to really start making changes in order for me to really truly enjoy my life and with a purpose. No more running away from myself. It is actually crazy to think of how much we DO run away from ourselves! Running away from pain, fear, anxiety, success, joy - LIFE! We overindulge, work too much, play too much, do anything at all to keep ourselves from sitting and looking at ourselves in a truly honest way - without the facade or act. It can be hard to accept who we are - that we may not be these perfect, nice human beings all the time. That doesn't mean we are bad. It just is what it is at that moment, and honestly once you give up trying to be something you're not, a weight just lifts off your shoulders and you start to surrender.

All information I have known in theory regarding how to live life has started to really click and resonate within my body. The idea and benefits of meditation, the feeling of true self-love, self-acceptance and self-worth, the appreciation and self-care for my body, living a purposeful life - I am truly understanding the importance of all of it and truly understanding what it actually FEELS like for once. I've realized even more now how little I've regarded myself for so long, and how much more I want to work towards living a full, happy life. I don't ever want to just exist in life as it is too precious to just waste away. Life is to be soaked in and experienced. However with that said, in order to really put all those theories continuously into practice and live a CONSCIOUS, happy life, DISCIPLINE is necessary and that is where things become challenging for me as I'm a bit of a free spirit. Being a free spirit, living spontaneously from one moment to the next, has been both a blessing and a curse. One would assume that living freely and spontaneously would feel...well...FREE! Yes, I can certainly feel free at times, but on the flip side there is also a lack of direction and purpose that comes along with that feeling. It's like I'm this bird erratically flying above my life below. It's the one area of my life that has reared it's ugly head continuously waiting for me to get with the program. The more I avoid being disciplined and thinking that change will just occur out of thin air, the longer the issues in my life continue - and I'm not getting any younger! It's not that I can't be disciplined or focused when need be, because when I put my mind to something I can manifest it pretty quickly, however when it comes to certain areas of my own personal growth (like just being), I can't seem to stay on task. When I hear the word discipline, I want to run the other way. Like even when I'm writing the word discipline I can feel the anxiety and resistance creeping up like an unwanted friend saying - "No Lianne...stay here with me and have some fun. Do all that shit later." "UH - OK!" I say. Ugh. It's a constant conflict of interest in my brain. I observe people mastering skills, following through with exercise, eating healthy, meditating and I think god damnit I need to get back on track. How do they do that so well?? Four years ago I maintained a major lifestyle change for four whole months - changing my diet completely, taking vitamins, remedies, eliminating alcohol and caffeine, drinking more water, knitting a scarf (thanks Grandma), and it felt glorious! I was finally taking care of myself, and putting me first. I was living a more balanced, structured, accomplished life, and then it all went to shit again. This experience though has proven that I CAN actually do it, and I just need to start one thing at a time and be more gentle with myself in the process. Scheduling and structuring my day, taking time to meditate (even if it's for two minutes), taking time to rehearse (singing and ukulele), taking time to be out in nature, eliminating all the things I can't eat due to allergies, and exercising more, will be my starting point to change. Doing something everyday consistently will help me feel more accomplished and purposeful.

I have been meeting many people as of late who have really pushed me unknowingly to take a good look at myself again and eliminate the excuses as to why I can't live the life I want. I am the one holding me back. I am the one making the decisions. It takes a large amount of effort to change your life around and I've been working towards doing this. I've been slowly accepting parts of myself over the last few months such as maybe not wanting kids, or maybe never getting married, which has been a hard one to accept as both are such normal societal milestones, especially for a woman. I equated not wanting both of these things with being selfish or not being responsible, but this is just not true. If they both happen down the road then so be it, but I realized it is alright that these are not my priorities. It has certainly taken the pressure and time urgency off my shoulders!!! Perhaps this lack of urgency will help the discipline part as I will feel I can take my time to get to develop my skills. There are so many things I want to experience, and with a more balanced state of mind and being I'll be able to get there a bit easier and more consciously (and appreciate things more). I will have more confidence, a more stable energy, a sense of accomplishment, which will in turn attract what I want in life.

I feel an immense amount gratitude and love to those people and experiences that have helped me along my journey. For those people who have come into my life challenging my thoughts and ways of being, lifting my spirits, giving me hugs, cuddles and kisses, being a shoulder to cry on, being a person to vent to - THANK YOU! Tears of joy sprung in my eyes today thinking of these people and life experiences. Instead of playing victim to everything that has happened to me along the way I really am looking at these things as a blessing and taking responsibility - my lack of discipline included. We grow as people when faced with adversity. Shaking up our perceived reality, looking at new perspectives, accepting others for who they are, listening and connecting with others, loving unconditionally, letting go of the past, living in the moment, will all allow us to soar to new heights and awareness. This does not mean we won't be faced with more challenges along the way, but we will feel more equipped when having to deal with them.

To further add to this though - I have to remember the things I've accomplished in life thus far as well (thanks Heather Watts for this reminder!) as I tend to minimize them. Maybe I haven't become president of a huge company, or found the cure for cancer but they are experiences I'm proud of that I have put my heart and soul into and I need to realize that also matters!! It's the little things in life that can bring us peace and joy.

Thank you to all who have listened. Love you guys!!! Have a great weekend!!!

Love,
Lovely Lianne xoxo


Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Have You Ever Felt Pure Happiness - HAPPY NEW YEAR'S EDITION 2014!!!


Accompanied by "A Life That's Good" - Nashville Cast

Hey All!

It's been a while since I've written last. There has been a lot going on so I apologize. I was scolded recently by a friend for not writing a blog in so long so here it goes Heather!!! For you girl! :)

SO...have you ever felt so happy that tears literally have just sprung out of your eyeballs?? Well people...that is how I have been feeling these last few months and it feels absolutely glorious!!!! I HAVE felt bliss before but not this consistently :) For many years life has been a crazy roller coaster for me, as I've said many times in previous blog posts. Lots of ups and downs and living in limboland, feeling completely lost and rather empty.  There have been so many years of feeling overwhelmed and purposeless, and not really feeling I was contributing much to society. For this past year and especially the last few months, I have felt these feelings disappearing little by little, and have felt that life is finally on track. After listening to this awesome song called "A Life That's Good" I truly started to feel utmost gratitude about life in general. My heart has launched open and this sense of freedom and love has been pouring into my body with such intensity. I often wondered if I would ever feel this joy and contentment in my life, so needless to say, these feelings have made me cry like a little baby numerous times. I made it a mission this past year to really figure out what made me happy, what I could do to help others, and what steps I needed to take to open my heart up to a real relationship again (or maintain healthy relationships with friends and family). How in the hell was this all going to happen?? And how was this to happen in a balanced state that benefitted everyone? I prayed and I wrote, and I talked endlessly, and I meditated, and I over thought, and I prayed some more. I began to analyze the present state of my life and analyzed who I had become. I listened to people's advice, and pick and chose what would work for me at that time. Living life in the moment seemed to help my anxiety and make me feel more content. Slowly releasing the pattern of trying to please everyone all the time certainly made me start to feel happy and more free. Learning to accept my quirks, faults, ADD moments, and myself in general definitely helped me move into the right direction as well. And music made me feel like I had a purpose in life. I became more committed to Whiskey Epiphany (the band I am currently apart of), joined a volunteer organization called Ladybird Sanctuary, an organization that helps animals in need, and this past summer met a boy (who I am currently still in a relationship with), who helped me realize what it feels like to be truly appreciated, respected, and VISIBLE!! The combination of all these things made my heart soar. I have been able to consistently perform and live out my dream of performing and singing. I am venturing into a volunteer opportunity that enables me to combine my love of animals with my desire to be of service to the community. And lastly, I was able to open my eyes up to what a healthy relationship is supposed to feel like. Though there is still a lot to learn and improve upon, I am finally making strides to a more fulfilling life.

LIFE REALLY IS GOOD!!

INTENTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR:

1) Meditate more and slow down! Take time for myself.
2) Become more committed and involved with the Ladybird Sanctuary, and volunteer opportunities in general.

3) Work hard to promote and line up more performances for Whiskey Epiphany.
4) Improve my singing abilities to help become more confident on stage!
5) Work on my constant struggle of caring too much about what people think!
6) Be kind to my body - eat healthy, exercise regularly and get more sleep!!!
7) Distance myself from things that don't serve me well any longer - toxic people, jobs, life patterns.
8) Travel more.
9) Learn to breathe and think before I react.
10) Learn to become a better leader/manager.
11) Get out into nature more :)
12) Continue to strive to live a life full of love and joy - stress free!

Here is to health, love, and happiness in 2014! I wish everyone the best and hope you all have an amazing year ahead!

Love,
Lovely Lianne xoxo

Monday, 26 August 2013

Have You Ever - Two Years Later!! A THANK YOU NOTE TO ALL! OVER 12,000 VIEWS!


Accompanied by "Gratitude" by Earth, Wind & Fire - "I wanna say Thank Youuu....yeeeah"

Hey All!!!!

SOooooOO...exciting news my friends!!! My little itty bitty blog has reached over 12,000 views which can only mean one thing - I NEED TO WRITE A THANK YOU NOTE TO YOU ALL (and all the random google searchers) cause that's what I do!!!!

Since I started writing this blog, life has definitely had its twists and turns. The whole purpose of me writing as I've mentioned numerous times, was to help people realize that we all go through trials and tribulations in life and to show everyone that we do not have to be ashamed of expressing those experiences. Everyone has their shit to deal with and there is no need to deal with this shit alone. It has been a truly gratifying and humbling experience receiving messages from people who felt they could relate to what I was saying, and have them share their own stories of struggle and joy with me.

I feel like life is starting to change for the better and feel more stable. Life truly is grand. I'm beginning to emerge into a stronger person, with more direction and focus. I'm beginning to shed the unwanted aspects of who I used to be little by little and have begun to live as the person I've always wanted to be. I'm beginning to feel more comfortable in my own skin, but still have some more growing to do in that front. It is still hard for me to reveal some aspects of myself to others as I still worry about what people think about me. I need to infuse a little "I DON'T GIVE A SHIT WHAT YOU THINK" attitude into my life ASAP!!!

I am still learning to find balance in life and to prioritize how I live my life in general. I need to leave room for silence and reflection, and connect with nature and my body again. I need to distance myself from the draining people in my life and focus on the people in my life that lift me up and accept who I am.  I need to leave room for things I enjoy doing rather than fill my time up with things other people want to do. I need to live my truth and be honest about who I am which is a hard thing to do sometimes. We all have said things, and lived in ways we aren't proud of, but it is swallowing our pride, recognizing what we've done, and forgiving ourselves for those moments that will help us move forward and start healing.

I am still learning to live in the moment and be grateful each day for wherever I am and whatever happens to me whether good or bad. It really is our perspective of these tough situations that is the important thing. Instead of letting life get us down when obstacles come our way, we need to see them as learning lessons and be thankful for having these obstacles enter our life. Hardship and struggle allow us to see the beauty and joy in life when the clouds part and things become more clear again.

Although discipline is clearly not my forte (as I don't write as often as I should), I'm hoping to change that and really write more seriously this upcoming year. Fingers crossed!!!

Enjoy the rest of your summers and thank you again to everyone who has commented, been inspired, felt connected to, criticized, and or cared about what I had to say!

Love,
Lovely Lianne XO


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Have You Ever Been to Paddle Royale? Big Brothers and Sisters Toronto 2012 Inaugural Event!



Accompanied by the Men's Final Gold Medal Game at the 2012 Olympics! Just to learn some tips ;)
Hey All!!!

This was an article I wrote for the Big Brothers and Sisters of Toronto inaugural event last year called Paddle Royale. It didn't end up getting published in the magazine for one reason or another so I thought I would put it on my blog as the second annual Paddle Royale is coming up August 22, 2013!! Team registrations are filling up so if you're interested in attending this super fun event, get on it! See link below :)

http://www.bbbstyoungleaders.ca/


On September 13th, 2012, the Big Brothers and Sisters of Toronto (BBBST) Young Leader’s (YL) kicked off their inaugural event, Paddle Royale, at SPiN Toronto in the heart of downtown Toronto. The council, which formed this past year, is comprised of 17 dedicated young professionals between the ages of 20 and 35 who want to make a difference in the city.  Their goals are to raise awareness of the organization with hopes to “recruit new volunteers, fundraise, and spread the word of Big Brothers and Sisters of Toronto”, says co-chair of the YL’s and Big Brother himself, Michael Boynton. Currently there are 250 kids on the waiting list, still needing to be matched with a big brother or sister. 

Whilst taking a year to organize, Paddle Royale, “a glow- in-the-dark (themed) ping-pong party” (combining a glow-in-the-dark party with a round-robin ping-pong tournament) came to fruition after many proposals were presented between the three different committees within the council - Events, Finance and Operations, and Communications and Media. The game of ping-pong has been making a comeback within the social scene these past few years and SPiN Toronto has become a popular spot for the young professionals to gather for a night on the town. Those factors combined created a perfect event idea to generate opportunities for networking, bring about awareness regarding the BBBST, and more importantly create the opportunity to bring teams of people together to pledge for donations.

Auction Table 
One major challenge the YL’s faced while organizing Paddle Royale was getting corporate sponsors to come on board and support the event. However, with much persistence and many cold calls later, an impressive $10,000 in sponsorships was gathered; an amazing feat for an inaugural event. Many of the sponsors are what the YL’s call “match sponsors”, a title earned by a donation of $1,500 that essentially covers the cost of pairing a Big Brother/Sister with a Little Brother/Sister. Sponsors also had the option of being a “table sponsor” which allowed the sponsors to put their own ads on the tables, have their own ping-pong table for the night, and have three teams automatically entered into the tournament.

The ladies talk strategy
As the sounds of music from music sponsor Kiss 92.5 and DJ Rouge filled the air, some of the expected 400 guests excitedly started to filter into the large venue. Ping-pong tables sprawled out between two large main rooms, dotted with vases of bright orange ping-pong balls, racquets, and colourful balloons. The registration team handed out glow-in-the-dark bracelets upon entry, which quickly became a favourite accessory amongst the guest’s attire that night.  Sixty-four teams registered to play in the round-robin tournament (which is maximum capacity able to register), bedecked in creative costumes with hopes of winning the “best-dressed” title.  Participants also received a Paddle Royale t-shirt donated by Me to We Style, which is a nice souvenir to take home. For those thirsty competitors, beer sponsor Steam Whistle Brewery provided a complimentary beverage, while liquor sponsor Three Olives Vodka provided some tasty cocktails for guests who just wanted to observe the action. SPiN conjured up an amazing menu for some much needed fuel, which included such treats as brown sugar bacon lollipops, Ontario lamb shoulder sloppy Joes, vegan tacos and the traditional favourite, grilled cheese. Nestled to the left of the action was a large room filled with raffle prizes (all generously donated) adding up to a remarkable $15,000 in value. The most coveted prize of the night was a trip for two to Waikiki donated kindly by Trump Hotels and WestJet, valued at $7,700 dollars. Additional raffle prizes included such things as a Blue Jays Box night which included free food and a box for 12 people, Xbox 360s, an autographed Doug Gilmour jersey and hotel stays at the Mariott, Delta, and Sheraton. A ping-pong table was donated by SPiN for the winners of the tournament which was valued at $3,000. After the final ball was hit, lights were dimmed, the black lights came on, and the glow-in-the-dark party really started. Guests grooved to the sounds of well-known DJs, DJ McKnight and DJ Emperor (from Earmilk.com) and there was free table play for any guests wanting to let out their excess energy.

To market this wonderful event, social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter were “most effective in spreading the word”, states Boynton.  A website was created, which allowed participants to register for the event and find out additional information about Paddle Royale. Local television station CP24 mentioned the event on their program, while the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) filmed the pop-up ping-pong party that was held outside in front of SPiN weeks before the event to generate hype. Posters were put up in condo buildings and coffee shops as well.

In all, teams alone raised over $30,000 and with sponsorship's of $10,000 and money raised throughout the night, contributions amassed to over $50,000. Being a first year event, Paddle Royale can only get bigger and better from here.  If you’d like to learn more about Big Brothers and Sisters of Toronto please visit their webpage at http://www.bbbst.com. For more information about Paddle Royale please go to http://www.bbbstyoungleaders.ca/.

SPONSORS/SUPPLIERS:

SPiN Toronto: http://toronto.spingalactic.com/
Three Olives: http://www.threeolives.com
Steam Whistle Brewery: http://www.steamwhistle.ca/
Kiss 92.5: http://www.kiss925.com
Me to We Style: http://www.metowestyle.com/
Earmilk: http://www.earmilk.com/
Trump Hotels: http://www.trumphotelcollection.com/
WestJet: http://www.westjet.com
CP24: http://www.cp24.com/
CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Have You Ever Experienced Loss In Your Life?


 Accompanied by "I Miss You" by Avril Lavigne.

 Hello all,

As many of you know, it has been a very tough week for me. I thought I would write a blog about my experience as part of my healing process. Each day is getting better, but my heart is still broken.


Just another day at work
Don't be fooled by the bows
On June 5th, 2013, I had to make the very difficult decision of putting my little girl Maddie (Moo) down to rest after 12 wonderful years. My heart has been aching with pain and sadness ever since. The silence is deafening as I sit here in my apartment. Coming home is something I dread more than enjoy at this moment. It feels almost suffocating being in this space. Everything reminds me of her and all I want to do is hold her and see her again. It is a surreal feeling knowing I will never physically get to see my sweet girl again in this lifetime. The sense of loss has been overwhelming and rather difficult to process. I know in theory Maddie is with me in spirit and I am never alone and that time will heal this pain, however with that said I have never felt so alone before in my life. She has been my constant companion ever since I moved out on my own and I didn't realize until this past week how much her presence helped me feel safe and fulfilled. It seems rather crazy that the death of an animal can produce this much heartache, but she was more than just an animal to me. She was like my child. We were two peas in a pod. We were almost like an old married couple at times! Although Maddie was kind of super crazy and her attitude made her infamous around any neighbourhood we moved to, it's that attitude that made me love her even more. Everyone remembered who my crazy little fur ball was after meeting her only once. Perhaps that isn't something to brag about, but I don't care. She had a big personality and I loved her for that. It didn't matter that people questioned why I kept such a crazy dog. I would do anything for her. I learned to love unconditionally, and having her in my life made me realize that I AM able to connect with another being with all my heart. She was my mirror in a lot of ways as she too had issues fully trusting others, was very independent, had a crazy sex drive, and had her emotional highs and lows. She was my barometer for how anxious I was or how much negativity I was carrying around that day - which was generally displayed by vicious growls at my face. Yes it was the right thing to do to assist her in leaving this earth, as the quality of her life was dwindling, but that doesn't make it hurt any less. I miss her everyday.

This loss made me truly empathize more than ever, with people who have lost children, parents, relatives, and companions they've held dear to their hearts. It is a pain that is inevitable in life. I too have had people and animals close to me pass away, however it never felt quite like this. It is the cycle of life and the reason we need to cherish each other, our animals, and our planet every day. We need to soak their souls in, their uniqueness, their faults and shining moments, and take care of each other the best we can.

What I Love and will miss most about my Moo Moo...

I will miss seeing her squeeze her little face through the bathroom door everyday to pay a visit.
I will miss having her wander into my office and nudge my hand to pet her. 

Scared of the thunder
I will miss hearing the pitter patter of her feet following me around the apartment.
I will miss her sleeping by my bedroom door, making me feel protected.
I will miss feeling her fur.
I will miss hearing her hump her stuffed alligator and drag it across the floor over and over again.
I will miss taking her for walks and seeing her bright coat shine in the sun. 

I will miss seeing her lie under the glass table while I eat...peering up expectantly.
I will miss feeling her wet nose on my hand or face.
I will miss her scent and her beautiful brown eyes staring up at me.
I will miss her waking me up every morning after I've hit the snooze button for the third time so she could eat her scrumptious food. 


I will miss having to explain to people every walk I go on, this:

Me: "No no don't try and pet her. She's not very nice."*
Them: Yah right. She's so cute *proceeds to bend down to pet her and cute Moo turns into rabid Moo*

End scene.
All groomed and ready to mingle

I will miss seeing her tap dancing away for her treats. 
I will miss seeing her prance across the floor. 
I will miss cuddling with her on the floor.
I will miss seeing her run after her squeaky "wooleys".
I will miss hearing her eat her crunchy dog food. She had no manners.
I will miss seeing her chase squirrels and hearing her bark at everything under the sun.

I will miss how we sometimes share the same menstrual cycle! Imagine how the house was then!
I will miss her crazy growl and her low manly bark.
I will miss her cuddling up to me when thunderstorms roll in and the smoke alarm goes off.
I will miss seeing her make a bed out of anything that is on the floor.
I will miss hearing her sing to my dad's trumpet.
I will miss seeing her sleep and looking so peaceful.
I will miss her making me laugh with her craziness.
I will miss my TV watching companion. 

Her lover of 12 years - Ali

I will miss seeing her bark at dogs on the TV.
I will miss her unimpressed glares at me and anyone else she came into contact with.
I will miss hearing her waiting excitedly by the door when I get home from work.
I will miss her sleeping under my bed when she gets scared of the loud noises outside.
I will miss hearing her snore.
I will miss seeing her run after the crazy Canadian geese or other birds.
I will miss seeing her looking so happy with the wind blowing in her face while we go on our car rides.

I will miss our lazy afternoons watching movies. 

I will never forget my little one and hope she is stirring up some trouble up above. I will love you forever Madster. 


"I know.  I'm beautiful."

Love,
Lovely Lianne xoxo


Monday, 18 February 2013

Have You Ever - Lianne Spiderbaby: Delving into Exploitation Films and Her Journey To Becoming a Successful Author


Lianne Spiderbaby's life has turned into a kind of fairy tale life as of late. A city girl growing up in the GTA, she had lived a fairly normal life riding horses, teaching elementary school, and freelance writing on the side for the popular horror magazine, Fangoria (among many others). Spiderbaby went to the University of Toronto to study cinema and later went on to teacher's college to pursue a career as an elementary school teacher - a career she would have been happy pursuing still if she wasn't busy building a life for herself in Los Angeles, California.  To say things have changed this past year would be an understatement. Over the course of this last year she has become a newly published author of her first book called Grindhouse Girls: Cinema's Hardest Working Women (being released later this year by St. Martin's Press), has gone public with her relationship with Quentin Tarantino (you may have heard of him), has recently attended the Golden Globes, and is now moving to Los Angeles to further pursue her rapidly growing writing career. It has been a whirlwind of amazing events indeed! I had the pleasure of interviewing Lianne the other week to talk about how her writing journey started, her new book, and what her plans are for the future. Her dreams certainly have become a reality with so many awesome opportunities to come in the future.

LG: So Lianne…tell me what your dreams were growing up?

LS: Growing up I wanted to be four different things - a much music VJ, a historian (or history professor) and then an actress or a lawyer. It was just ridiculous. When I went to university my parents encouraged me to take whatever I wanted to take…whatever I liked, so I did that and took a cinema studies course. My professor in my first year course was phenomenal and so inspiring and it was just really fun! I finally felt like I found a place where I belonged.  

LG: What did you experience after you completed your Cinema Studies degree?

Dial M For Murder
LS: When I graduated I had a few experiences in the film industry and I didn’t like it, which was disappointing to me. I didn’t want to work 12-hour days, and even tried to make a little student movie but that didn’t work out. I wrote it and I tried to direct it and realized I didn’t enjoy that part of it. I sort of came to a crossroads and wondered what I was going to do.

LG: So what did you do in the meantime while figuring out what to do?

LS: I definitely knew that film sets and contract–to-contract work was not how I wanted to work with film. I always worked with children at summer camps and I enjoyed it and enjoyed the hours. I am a very structured person, so Monday to Friday 8-3 p.m. was ideal for me. I applied to teacher’s college and I got in. I taught elementary school for three years and still do really like that job. I substitute teach occasionally and work with children. When the writing became more prominent that has been where I have been focusing my attention.

LG: Were you into writing before university? Or did that develop while you were in university?

LS: Getting out of university writing is what I knew HOW to do. I wasn’t really a writer in high school. I have always had creative outlets, as I was kind of a strange kid but writing was never in the forefront. When you’re in university you HAVE to write, so I was doing a lot of that and it kind of branched out from there. However, it was something I couldn’t do [professionally] until I was confident that I could do it well to a certain degree. You have got to have the gumption to get up and go and make it for yourself. No one is getting freelancing jobs by sitting on their ass. Even sending an email to anyone and say "I’d like to freelance for you", you have to have some confidence in your ability and I definitely did not have that all throughout high school and university.
  
LG: What was the defining moment for you that you thought "I can do this"? Was it when you were working with Fangoria?

LS: No, it was before then.  I just wanted to write about things that I loved, so I started with that, and then I started submitting to Fangoria.  I didn’t really have confidence in my writing abilities until I wrote an article called I Spit On Your Movie: A Critique of the I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE remake and I received great praise for it.  I also received criticisms for it – mostly from trolls the wonderful people online.  But you have to expect that in horror genre writing.

LG:  How did you find out about Fangoria magazine and how long have you been with the magazine?  

Article in Fangoria
LS: My older brother read it as a kid so I knew about Fangoria through him. I started working for Fangoria almost 2 ½ years ago. I started with Fango because I was turned down by the magazine Rue Morgue, a lesser known magazine, and it pissed me off. In my early twenties I had done a lot of volunteering with Rue Morgue as it was a Toronto based horror magazine. Rue Morgue was probably the best horror publication out there so when I actually started writing, I submitted to them first to give me some feedback. The editor at the time said we don’t need freelance writers right now and to try back in a couple of months, and I was kind of bummed out about it.  I decided to go higher up and contacted the editor at Fangoria who I knew through Rue Morgue as he also wrote for them in the past. I wanted to have them read a couple of reviews to see if they could use me in the future. He read my stuff and then put me on assignment right away. My first interview was kind of weird – it went on for 5 hours on a Friday night with the late Sage Stallone (he passed away last July), who is Sylvester Stallone’s son. The article I wrote was so-so but my second article went really well and I have been freelancing with them ever since.

LG: Horror movies are certainly an acquired taste and an interesting field to want to get into. I personally am petrified of these films so where did your interest in horror films come from? What inspired you to get into this field?  

LS: I have three half brothers and whenever they came to my house on the weekends they always wanted to watch horror films. They would pick the movie, and I would stay up and watch it with them. I don’t remember if I loved them when I was younger, but I think it was probably more about being cool to my brothers. By the time I got to university I just wanted to do something different that not everyone else was doing and wanted to write about the movies that other people were not writing about. And I wanted to explore the fact that I really did like horror films a lot. They get a bad wrap for being sexist and stereotyping women so I wanted to explore that as well.  You slowly find your way into exploitation films as you dig deeper into the horror genre (once you've seen all the mainstream films). My final essay in university was about Grindhouse theatres and about exploitation films that were shown in them, so that is where my interest started and that is what lead me to underground horror niches and then eventually to my new book Grindhouse Girls.

LG: Yes! You have your first book coming out later this year called “Grindhouse Girls: Cinema's Hardest Working Women which is very exciting - congratulations! Tell me what the the premise is for this book.

LS: The book profiles and celebrates 17 different actresses (Tura Satana, Dyanne Thorne, Pam Grier, and Camille Keaton to name a few) that were involved in exploitation films in the 1970’s, and looks at the films and theorizes them as feminist subjects in some degree.  Yes these films are exploitive – sexy, and racy with a lot of nudity - but I think these films today can be looked at with a different lens than when they were looked at in the 1970’s.  I think all of them are political commentaries in some shape or form. The book is a social commentary and it parallels throughout history.  It talks about exploitation films in an academic and feminist light, which has not really been done yet.

LG: Do you think this book will allow people to understand the world of exploitation films a bit better - in a more accurate light? Perhaps drop any of the stigmas attached to them?

LS: Absolutely.  In the 70s-80s-90s, there was a resurge in popularity of film noir movies – and in part, that was because of feminist film theory being written on about the femme fatale in noir films. I think modern women took a great interest in these femme fatale characters – characters that were once looked upon as evil women out for their own interests.  Women started to conceptualize these femme fatales as empowering, and I think that now that several years have gone by since the 1970s, women can view these strong women in exploitation films the same way.  I make a case for it throughout the book, and each actress featured is a perfect example – in their own and very diverse way.

LG: What inspired you to even write this book?

LS: Well I was watching all the exploitation films for my final essay I had to write in university, so I already had a scope of what the movies were all about. I really liked them and found them hilarious and very self-aware.  These films were all coming out in a period of time where movies were really pushing the envelope in the 1970’s, so I found it fascinating that these really shocking movies were coming out with all the political issues happening in the U.S at that time. The book sort of came to be when I interviewed actress Lynn Lowry (George Romero's Shivers, Radley Metzger's Score) for my second interview with Fangoria.  Score was being re-released on Blu-Ray and DVD, and she had done a lot of horror and exploitation films in the 1970’s. Her whole story was really fascinating – she is a cult status figure now and is getting back into acting because people are rediscovering her work. We were at ease talking to each other because it was woman to woman and she normally gets interviewed by men. I went back into the movies and saw things that were almost feminist and how woman were portrayed and started contacting people who could connect me with the actresses.

LG: How much research was involved in writing Grindhouse Girls

LS: A lot – especially because I watched so many films in preparation and then re-watched the films to discuss them in the book. Plus I was conducting interviews with the actresses when I could get them, and doing the research online and in fan magazines and books on the actresses (of which there are very few).  I found commentaries on DVDs really helpful – there’s a lot of information in the director and/or actor commentaries.  It was a lot of work, but again – it was about something I loved and was very interested in – so it didn’t feel like work at all.

LG:  With all this research involved, how long did it take for you to actually write your book? And are you proud of the outcome? 

LS: I’m so proud of it.  It took me a year to finish, but after sitting down with Quentin (Tarantino), he told me which chapter he liked the best and why and then I went back into the book and added a lot more, reworked some things, etc.  It’s currently in the editing phase, in the hands of my wonderful editor, and we’re toning down the academic language a bit to make it more accessible.  I’m so proud of the outcome.  Start to finish, including signing the papers for publishing, it’s been a two year process.

LG: Oh yes! Quentin Tarantino. He is penning the foreword in your book! How did this come about? That's pretty exciting - especially for your first book!


Lianne & Quentin at the 2012Golden Globes
LS: Tarantino and I were kind of running in the same circles – Eli Roth is a mutual friend of ours, and Quentin subscribes to three different magazines that I write for.  He’s my favorite film director, and he had heard about me from my writing and mutual friends.  We started talking online on Facebook, actually.  He deleted his account while leading up to filming Django Unchained but we kept in touch, and I was in LA often, so we decided to meet up.  I told him all about my book and told him that it would be really meaningful if he could be a part of it somehow – since Grindhouse and Death Proof in particular influenced my interest in exploitation films when I was in university.  He agreed, which I was so excited about.  Our relationship now is pretty public since the Golden Globes.  Write a book – you could find love, too  [laughs]!


LG: Well that is an amazing story in itself Lianne! Congratulations :) 

LG: Now, writing can be a challenging thing sometimes to keep motivated with if you aren't in the right frame of mind at the time. You may be tired, or frustrated, or lacking inspiration certain days which makes it hard to keep going. What kept you motivated to write each day? Did you ever want to give up? 

LS: No, it’s really just as simple as I love writing about things that I love, so it’s quite easy to stay motivated.  I’m lucky to not have the kind of writing job where I HAVE to go online and write about relationship advice or something like that.  I’m lucky that I don’t have to do that to make ends meet – that mundane, forced to write about shit I don’t care about is never a factor in my writing.  I only write about what I want to write about, and I’m fortunate enough – especially in the case of my book – to get paid well to do it.

LG: Getting paid to do what you love is a huge bonus! Something we all strive for most definitely in life! And being an aspiring writer myself and seeing you get paid to live your dream, how does a writer become successful in your opinion?

LS: Commit to writing everyday, even if it’s just for 20 minutes.  That’s why I think it’s important for every writer to have a blog.  Even if you have five minutes and only something small you want to say, there is an outlet for it.  As far as writing books, I would give myself personal deadlines.  I gave myself two weeks per chapter, and when I’m writing full-time, I give myself four days per chapter.

LG: Will you be doing many book launches and traveling to promote Grindhouse Girls? 

LS: I’m not sure what my publisher has in store for me yet, but I’m hoping to have a launch party in LA and a launch party in Toronto!

LG: Well I definitely will be attending your book launch in Toronto! What do you strive for next, after Grindhouse Girls is released to the public? What are your future aspirations? More movies/acting? Modeling?

LS: Writing, writing, and more writing.  I’m already working on another book called Hipsteria: A Film History Of Hipster Culture and I’m working on a fiction book of stories, as well.  The fiction writing is just a bit of fun, I’m not sure I will ever do anything with it.  It’s very Girls – Lena Dunham-ish.

LG: Sounds awesome! Oh hipsters. Trying to not conform but ending up conforming within the little culture they have built! Look forward to reading it! Have you prepared yourself for any media scrutiny regarding your book? Being in the public eye can sometimes require a backbone

LS: I try to have a sense of humor about it.  There were pictures of me in The Daily Mail [a UK online magazine] in a bikini on a yacht with Quentin, and I felt like shit for a week. I was bloated anyway – sporting a frozen-margarita-three-enchilada-filled tummy (I’m on vacation!) and to be shot in a crazy zoom lens, on a WIDE angle lens is quite awful.  I don’t look bad or anything – but it was embarrassing for me. Oh, and I’m wearing a snorkel mask as well.  It’s pretty much the hottest thing, ever. I have a sense of humor about it now, though. I wrote about it on my blog, Daydream Nation.

LG: Well you are beautiful girl so I’m happy you are trying to make light of things! The media can certainly be evil.  

On a side note...

Lianne Spiderbaby with Jack Hill, director of Spider Baby
LG: Where in the heck did you get the name Spiderbaby from? Would you ever consider changing your name permanently?? Are you going to use your real surname for your book?

LS: I would never change my name permanently, no.  It was just a name I took because I had the foresight of knowing that I did not want my professional career to conflict with the fact that I wrote for horror magazines. SPIDER BABY is a 1968 film directed by Jack Hill that I absolutely love.  It’s such a great film, and is one of those timeless and strange horror films that you know you will love forever.  I’m a big fan of Jack Hill, and I actually had the pleasure of meeting him in person at a recent Academy screening of SPIDER BABY in Los Angeles! I liked the name, and I loved the film, so I adopted it for my own use!  Jack knows about it of course, and I have his approval.

On another side note...

LG: I see you also have a YouTube channel called Fright Bytes which is pretty successful, that you do with your brother. How and why did you decide to start that channel?

LS: Everyone when they are reading something, likes to know where it comes from. If they feel that they have an attachment to the writer they will then make a point of going out and getting the magazines that the author has written in. It gives the author a persona. I think it’s important and I think that’s what makes good writers so I just figured I would do something on YouTube. Initially a friend of mine who has a successful video game channel on YouTube (where he actually makes money off of YouTube) had me on as a guest host during one of his own episodes to review The Walking Dead Season One. He said a lot of people were commenting that I should do something like this after they saw the episode so we ended up doing two other episodes together.  We decided to part ways soon after due to scheduling conflicts, and since I lived with my brother at the time, we decided to join forces and set up a show together. There are indie filmmakers that we know through friends that do little introductions for us as it's publicity for them and they like doing them. As well, because it's some of the people I have interviewed for the magazine I actually will personally send them the episodes and they will make an introduction for us. It's been really fun!

Zombies, exploitation films, dead genesis episode 5

LG: That's amazing! How awesome to be able to do something like that with your brother! Looking forward to future episodes.

LG: So we are down to our last question! The theme of my blog is “Have You Ever” so I have to ask you - HAVE YOU EVER looked back at your life thus far and have gone WTF?? How did this happen? How did I get here??? 

LS: Everyday.  Literally, this time last year (early February), I was unhappy in a relationship, my childhood horse had just passed away which devastated me, I felt like I had hit a wall with my writing because my book had been turned down by three publishers (I was rejected four times before nailing the publisher that I actually wanted – St. Martin’s Press), and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.  A year later, I have the publisher I wanted, I got a great advance for the book, I can write for any horror outlet I want (editors are always willing to read my stuff and give me a shot since I have some credibility), I live with Quentin and we’re happy as hell, and I’m going to the Oscars at the end of the month!  I think when things are meant to be, and you get on the right track, and you work hard to overcome the hurdles, you will end up where you should be and you will be happy.  Everything just fell into place this year like a puzzle – so while hard work is EXTREMELY important and networking is my number one piece of advice for writers and anyone working in entertainment in any capacity – I would also say that if it’s meant to be, you will feel it.  Opportunities will present themselves if you’re on the right track, and you will be rewarded for your hard work.

Some great advice indeed. If you want to learn more about Lianne Spiderbaby and check out some of her work please visit: 

https://twitter.com/liannespider
www.liannespiderbaby.com
http://liannedaydreamnation.blogspot.ca/

www.fangoria.com - Fangoria Magazine
http://famousmonsters.com - Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine
www.cineplex.com - Cineplex Magazine
www.videowatchdog.com - Video Watchdog Magazine
http://www.youtube.com/user/Frightbytes

If you're interested in watching some of Lianne's top exploitation film picks here they are:

1) The Big Doll House
2) Coffy
3) Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!
4) Amuck (Italian film)
5) Bonnie's Kids
6) Thriller aka They Call Her One Eye